The idea behind this ongoing feature is simple: to open up a conversation amongst musicians operating within ambient, drone, and experimental styles about the current global crisis in relation to Covid-19. As a majority of us are now in a state of lockdown, I believe that music making and listening is as important as ever, even if music sales are at a record low. This series will continue as long as it needs to and will present a fixed set of questions to musician friends, artist linked with RTR past and present, and anyone else who would be interested in taking part.
First up is Tom Honey who has performed and recorded under the name of Good Weather for An Airstrike since 2009. I’d been linked with Tom on a number of social media platforms for a number of years, however it wasn’t until late in 2018 when we first met before sharing the stage one evening in Winchester. Tom gave a wonderful streamed performance of new GWFAA material last night and talks about how he is staying creative, listening to new releases, and making time to work on new collaborative projects.
How have the widespread lockdowns in response to the Covid-19 crisis affected your music making?
Knowing we’re all on lockdown has meant I’ve been able to finish off little bits that I’ve neglected over the past few months. I’ve also been in contact with a few friends about collaborating on some new music which I’m very excited about. Thankfully it’s something we can do remotely. My brother, a friend and I have also been talking about starting a new project for the last couple of years, so I guess this might be the kick up the bum we need to get started on that, too. Speaking personally making music is hugely important to my mental health. And at this stage in time it’s important to not let that deteriorate.
What music, new or old, have you been listening to lately, and have your listening habits changed as a result of the current situation?
Not a lot has changed in terms of how I consume music, I tend to use Spotify at home or on the go either way. New music – I can’t stop listening to Scottish trio Cloth. Their self-titled debut is just beautiful. Caspian’s latest album is yet another example of why they’re at the top of their field. Additionally, Apparat’s ‘LP5’ has been on heavy rotation. Generally speaking, I’m one of those people with quite a big playlist that I just stick on random and away I go.
Consequence of Sound reported the worst week of album sales since the 1960s (28th March 2020). Do you think the coronavirus outbreak will have a lasting negative effect on the music industry?
Hard to say at this point. I’d imagine physical sales will see a big slump, which is a big concern for independent record stores. It’s also a worry for artists and labels who have put in orders for new physical releases. Obviously I’m no expert, but I imagine a lot more people will take advantage of using streaming platforms while this is all happening. Which in theory could open music to new ears. I suppose in the knowledge we have some more spare time on our hands while in lockdown, potentially means we, as a listener, will give full albums more of a chance to digest, too.
With more musicians live streaming from their homes than ever before, do you think this trend will continue once things improve?
I hope not. It’s a good stopgap for the time being. While live-streaming can be fun and gives people across the world to have a unique experience to see a live performance from the comfort of their own home. It certainly doesn’t replace the magic of going to an actual gig. As a society (myself included) we spend a lot of our time glued to a screen already. Concerts are one of the few remaining places where you can lose yourself in a moment, meet up with friends, make new friends and nerd out over common interests with total strangers!
What do you think we as music makers can be doing to create positivity right now?
We’re in quite a unique situation here, in that we are one of the few occupations that it doesn’t stop us from working/creating (at least from a home studio point of view). If anything, the polar opposite. I mean, technology where it is, we can make a song and release it into the world the very same day if we wanted. Everyone around the world is in the same situation right now so it’s exciting to see what lyricists have to say in the coming weeks/months.
Music has the ability to help you lose yourself, even if it’s just for 3 minutes. All the uncertainty and worries we have at the moment; I think that’s one of the shining lights things we have. Hopefully, it will also inspire people to start creating their own music.
While I’m here… Stay home, look after yourself, keep in contact with friends and family. Support the NHS.